Thursday, September 24, 2015

Montana Roadtripp-ERS

The best thing about living in Montana - I mean, aside from it not resembling the Midwest or East Coast - is that the gorgeous, expansive, once-in-a-lifetime scenery is a great excuse for people to come visit. And while we didn't do a lot of traveling far and wide ourselves this summer, we were fortunate enough to be a part of others' exciting adventures.

After being thoroughly entertained by their travel tales, we either found ourselves jealous because of our home-bound nature, or sighing with relief that we could stay rooted in one spot while the world circulated around us. But having friends and family from all over make the effort to see us was probably better than any traveling we could have done.

In early summer my parents broke in their new House on Wheels to visit us, and generally see the country, as they made their way to Boston to meet their new grandchild. They spent six days tethered to our house while they regaled us with the trials and tribulations of RV travels (those Park Rangers can be a real bitch!), had sleepovers in the RV with Zoey, and soaked up a pre-toddler Holden. And, you know, did laundry and took showers and stuff.

In mid-to-late July Uncle Ken stayed with us for a few days while attending the BMW MOA Bike Rally, held this year in Billings. According to the people who know these things, this summer brought in the most revenue for the city, the BMW rally in particular bringing in $4 million. So, Uncle Ken, *that* is why Subway was the only vendor inside the rally.

About a month later - towards the end of August - I had the pleasure of once again seeing someone with whom I was surprised to have a connection. In broad terms, we are polar opposites: he's Southern Baptist, I'm mostly Agnostic Theist; he's Conservative, I've been called a "raging Liberal;" he lives in the Deep South, I live in the North West; he has a sometimes hard-to-understand accent; he mistakenly feels I'm the one with the accent. But we're alike in the things that matter: we love family, believe in a Higher Power, enjoy a good laugh, and an even better beer. For my former boss at the Florida House who I haven't seen in seven years, I treated him to a Red Lodge brewed brew.

It's a comforting feeling knowing you have friends and loved ones far and wide. So thanks for the visits, and keep 'em comin'!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Holden is Gettin' Old-en!

At the end of July, Holden reached the ripe, old age of one. I was sure this day would never come, due in large part to my seemingly vast array of inadequacies as a mother. But I heaved a sigh of relief as he toddled around his dog-themed birthday party, clearly pleased with himself at being that much closer to keeping up with the big kids.

Holden had a great time, and both he and Zoey were obviously happy with it being dog-centered. I had way more fun than I probably should have getting everything ready, especially since he'll never actually remember any of it, but I'll admit - I'm one of those who use my children to lure their parents into my home so they'll socialize with me.

 Zoey proved to be my biggest asset in party-prep. She especially excelled at Decorating and Goody-Bag Stuffing.

 Next stop on my career journey: Costco cake department!

 The guests beginning to trickle in.

 What do you serve at a dog party? Why, HOT DOGS, of course!

 Birthday cake. Hashtag: not impressed.

I had a feeling this might be the way things went down. Not that they're the same baby or anything, buuuuuuutttt.....

....This was Zoey and her first birthday cake...

 Presents! Nothing like the excitement of the giant one in the corner.

 Everyone had to get in on the action!

 By far his most favorite present of all, a toy remote control from Jacob's friend, Tom. Holden loved it so much, he took it everywhere, including in the pool.

 His other favorite present, a new crib toy from Grandma and Grandpa. I was sure it would keep him up but I should have never underestimated Baby Einstein. We are ALL quite pleased with this new addition to his sleep repertoire.
Oh, what a difference a year makes...